If someone asked you what a good uke was, what would you say? Or if someone came to you with a question you would be able to tell them which instrument they’d just been asked to choose? So it’s not surprising that we find the subject of ukulele selection to be pretty diverse. This is evident in many of the answers we receive, from the well-meaning to the totally unexpected, so read on at your own risk.
Before we begin, let’s define some terms before I get to any real discussion of the topic.
Uke refers to the uke, which is a stringed instrument that you usually think of as a classical musical instrument. But in many respects, the uke is more than a traditional stringed instrument – it is the ultimate instrument, or the instrument as it relates to music – a hybrid instrument.
It has been described by many respected players as the ultimate instrument… and a hybrid for that matter. But that does not mean it has to have that appearance, sound or construction. Its characteristics are entirely unique to its individual makers and are the result of many years of creative experimentation.
As such, the ukulele has its own personality which is unique to the maker. There are hundreds of different maker’s names that could be found scattered throughout the internet. Some of them are quite well-known and recognized, while others have fallen by the wayside, not yet being revived in a contemporary context.
Many of them also don’t exist any longer, though some are still in the making today.
The makers who have continued to develop and create instruments are the core of the ukulele tradition. You might be aware of one if you are familiar with an old-fashioned uke, or one who is familiar with some old-time strings-on-string or other music-on-string or other instrument – if any of those is interesting then you are of a certain age and skill set. Those are the ukulele builders who will be discussed here. If you are an aspiring uke builder, then this article might be a bit redundant. The point is that we want to introduce our visitors to the world of the uke builder. As such, there are three key elements to the ukulele builders:
1.) The builder or manufacturer
2.) The music maker
3.) The maker
You probably have already heard of the first two. The musician or composer who
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